POLICE INVESTIGATION INTO MISTAKES MADE IN POLICE HANDLING OF MISSING TEENAGER

September 24 2014

– Scotland Yard has launched a review into the shambolic handling of the Alice Gross case.
The internal probe will examine what was done in the immediate aftermath of the 14-year-old’s disappearance – the so-called ‘golden hour’ when most cases are solved.
MPs have expressed grave concerns over the Metropolitan Police’s handling of the case and delays in treating it as more than a missing person inquiry.
The force also faces criticism over delays in asking the Latvian authorities for help in catching prime suspect Arnis Zalkalns.
Meanwhile Latvian ministers said they had been unable to stop Zalkalns from entering Britain because of EU freedom of movement laws.
They insisted they had no duty to inform the UK about his past as he had already served a prison sentence.
And they may be unable to stop future murderers from slipping into the UK because this would infringe their ‘human rights and civil liberties’.
In other developments:
British detectives flew to Latvia yesterday – almost a month after Alice went missing
Latvian justice minister Gaidis Berzins said his department has not received a ‘legal request [for help] from the UK authorities’
Zalkalns learnt search and survival techniques during the 1990s in the Latvian home guard
His former landlord is a convicted paedophile who sexually abused a teenage girl for four years.
The search for Alice further descended into chaos after Edgars Strautmanis, head of the International Co-operation Bureau in Riga said Zalkalns could not be held as a European Arrest Warrant had not been issued.
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Scotland Yard said it had not applied for an EAW as the case did not meet the ‘evidential criteria’.
The hunt for Zalkalns also took an extraordinary twist when it emerged yesterday that he had been living with a convicted paedophile.
Lionel Ferris, 68, owned the house in West London where Zalkalns lived with his girlfriend and daughter before he went missing.
CCTV footage of Alice Gross released by MET Police

Lionel Ferris, 68, pictured, owned the house in Ealing, West London, where prime suspect Arnis Zalkalns had been living for 18 months with his girlfriend and one-year-old daughter +10
Lionel Ferris, 68, pictured, owned the house in Ealing, West London, where prime suspect Arnis Zalkalns had been living for 18 months with his girlfriend and one-year-old daughter
Arnis Zalkalns +10
Zalkalns went missing from his home on September 3. He was seen on his bike at the canal 15 minutes after Alice was last seen +10
Zalkalns went missing from his home on September 3. He was seen on his bike at the canal 15 minutes after Alice was last seen
Mr Ferris, who died behind bars a few weeks ago, is thought to have been recalled to prison for breaking his parole after being released halfway through a three-and-a-half year sentence.
He had been jailed in 2011 after admitting 12 counts of indecent assault on a girl aged under 16.
It also emerged Zalkalns was a volunteer in Latvia’s army reserves between 1991 and 1993, where he was taught search and survival skills and undertook duties including guarding prisoners.
Radoslav Andric, another former landlord of Zalkalns, described him as a ‘competent, practical man and a born survivor’.
‘He was quite a weird man, a little bit rough,’ he said. ‘He seemed as if he had a military background – the kind of person who was fit for anything. He could find himself anywhere and survive.’
Suspect in Alice Gross disappearance is convicted murderer

Zalkalns killed his wife Rudite in 1997 by stabbing her through the heart. He is pictured with his wife on their wedding day in 1995 +10
Zalkalns killed his wife Rudite in 1997 by stabbing her through the heart. He is pictured with his wife on their wedding day in 1995
Handcuffed to a detective, Zalkalns shows detectives where he buried his wife after stabbing her on the outskirts of Riga +10
Handcuffed to a detective, Zalkalns shows detectives where he buried his wife after stabbing her on the outskirts of Riga
Meanwhile, Latvia’s interior minister Rihards Kozlovskis hit back at critics who blamed the Baltic country for allowing a convicted murderer to slip into Britain.
Zalkalns served just six-and-a-half years in prison for stabbing his wife Rudite, 22. But within two years of his release, the jobbing builder was free to move here without immigration officials or police knowing of his past.
British murderers are subject to stringent supervision, having to report to probation teams and seek permission to travel abroad.
Forensic search begins in Alice Gross investigation

The Metropolitan Police is facing criticism over its handling of the case since Alice Gross went missing +10
The Metropolitan Police is facing criticism over its handling of the case since Alice Gross went missing
Police officers were today searching an area of shrubland close to the bank in the hunt for the missing schoolgirl +10
Police officers were today searching an area of shrubland close to the bank in the hunt for the missing schoolgirl
A reward of up to £20,000 is being offered for anyone who has information that leads detectives to find Alice +10
A reward of up to £20,000 is being offered for anyone who has information that leads detectives to find Alice
Police have arrived in Latvia to continue investigations into the schoolgirl’s disappearance +10
Police have arrived in Latvia to continue investigations into the schoolgirl’s disappearance
When asked why Zalkalns was allowed to travel to the UK, Mr Kozlovskis said: ‘This person has served his sentence for the crime that he was convicted of.
‘In such a case we would not restrict a person’s freedom to move within the EU as a member country.
‘Of course we understand the public’s worry, but we are still doing everything we can to investigate.’
Mr Kozlovskis said he was hoping to work with other EU countries to build up a database of criminals.
But he added: ‘There is a problem as to how long someone should stay on the database because of their human rights and civil liberties. It is a challenge.’
Mr Strautmanis said he did not have a ‘crystal ball’ to help him solve the case and had no idea where Zalkalns, 41, is.
He went missing from his home in Ealing, West London, on September 3. Alice was last seen on August 28 walking along the nearby Grand Union Canal, followed by Zalkalns on a bicycle 15 minutes later.
A Met spokesman said: ‘Inquiries in Latvia remain but one strand of this investigation.
‘At this point in time the investigation remains very firmly a missing person inquiry.’

– Arthur Martin & Rebecca Camber

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About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Crimewave2014@gmail.com
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